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Networking 101 – Beware of Mixed Messages

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Craig Harrison says that the reason that Networking may not be working for you is because of the basic 9 mistakes that Networker’s make. I will be going through these over the next few weeks and let’s see if this is what is holding you back.

The sixth mistake he says is “Leakage. Is there an inconsistency between what you say what you do? Your card may say one thing about you, your clothing suggests something else and the language and vocabulary you use further confounds strangers in getting a fix on who you are, what you’re about and your skill level. Strive to send consistent messages verbally, non-verbally and in your materials and correspondence. When everything works together the sum is greater than the parts.”

Whilst I agree that this may have some bearing on whether you are a good networker or not – my biggest gripe in this area is that of pre-judgement.

Personally, I don’t really care what your card says, how you dress or what you look like, I am going to hook up with you to find out more about you, what you do and most importantly, who you know!

Too many times, I have watched people pre-judge someone only to discover (often when it is far too late) that the person that they dismissed “out of hand” is someone that they really should have hooked up with.

One of my biggest clients today is a chap that I met in a bar. He was dirty and smelly, his t-shirt was torn and dirty and his shorts hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine in a very long time. We got to talking and I discovered he had just gotten back from a fishing trip and was having an ice-cold beer before going home to offload the boat etc. He actually owns 4 different businesses, several boats, a “holiday/weekend” home on the Vaal and his own helicopter. When he travels nationally, he “charters” a plane as he hates having to “wait” or be dependent on airlines. Sounds like someone you would like to do business with, doesn’t it?

So my advice to you on this one is, don’t worry too much about what it says on the business card, or what the person looks like. Talk to them and find out who they are and who they know!